Obituary for William Thomas Dunkin

    • Name: William Thomas Dunkin
    • Home Town: St. James Plantation, Southport, NC
    • Date of Death: 10/15/2018
    • Service Date: 11/02/2018 at 11:00 AM
    • Service Place: St. James Chapel

    William (Bill) Thomas Dunkin, retired engineer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) died Monday, October 15, at Lower Cape Fear Hospice, Bolivia, NC, following an extended illness. He was 86.

    He served his country throughout his career, first in the Air Force in the Korean War, and afterwards in the early years of the Space Program. After leaving the Air Force, he specialized in communications and test equipment management. When John Glenn lost contact with Mission Control during America’s first orbital flight, Bill was instrumental in resolving the problem, and Glenn landed safely.

    In the 1970’s, Bill moved to Maryland as a civilian working first on the Apollo Program and then on the Space Shuttle Program. He was vital to many strategic U.S. space and communication programs. For Apollo, he designed and built equipment to test data that would provide the color pictures that the network’s ground stations needed for tracking purposes.

    He retired in 1997, and in 2011 he moved to St. James Plantation where he loved the relaxed lifestyle of Southeastern North Carolina. Among the many pleasures he enjoyed during retirement were his two Welsh Corgis and the walks he took with them.

    He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Linda S Walsh, also of St. James near Southport, NC; a brother Charles Dunkin of Birmingham; three children from a former marriage: Diane Porter, Debra Porter, and James Dunkin, all located near Atlanta; seven grandchildren; one great grandchild; and many other relatives in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi.

    A memorial service for Mr. Dunkin will be held at 11:00 AM, Friday, November 2, at the St. James Chapel.

    Contributions in his name may be made to the William T. Dunkin and Linda S Walsh Research Fund in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech Office of University Development, 902 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061; or to The William T. Dunkin and Linda S Walsh Scholarship Fund, The Community Foundation of Frederick County, Inc., 312 Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701                                (online at; or to Lower Cape Fear Hospice.

    Brunswick Funeral Service, Southport/Oak Island Chapel



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